Kinect Sports: Season 2 Hands-On Preview – Stepping up to the Oche
Written Tuesday, August 16, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
If you had said to me six months ago that Rare would be creating a Kinect Sports 2 title and whacking darts in as one of their 6 sports, I would probably have laughed in your face and exclaimed: “But darts? You need super accuracy for such an event!!” It’s a harsh but fair comment about a piece of software that didn’t really have such things nailed around launch. Kinect Sports: Season 2 will be approximately a year on from Kinect’s launch and boy, do they really know how to push the best out of the device. It’s the Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor of darts video games.
This is honestly a preview that could be summed up in two words: accurate and responsive, but that really wouldn’t do Kinect Sports 2's darts much justice and you probably wouldn’t know what to expect, so let me delve ever so slightly into how the mechanics work and the odd foible that we encountered at times.
So, darts, it’s a simple game right… I mean, after all, you throw 3 darts into a board to whittle down your score from 501, ending on a double. And that’s exactly what Kinect Sports: Season 2 offers you, with you able to play the CPU or 3 like-minded friends. When you step up to the oche, you simply choose which hand you want to pick the dart up with, aim and then throw.
What makes Kinect Sports: Season 2’s darts so impressive though is the degree of accuracy you have with the darts at your disposal. Moving your hand just a slight millimetre will move your on-screen target a slight millimetre too. It’s 'seeing is believing' stuff in all honesty, as this type of control has never really been seen in a Kinect game to-date. Sure, Child of Eden’s responsiveness in the menu system is impressive, but this is a whole new level of accuracy that we’ve yet to see from Kinect.
How you throw the dart will play some part in where it goes as well. It’s all well and good lining up the target on screen with the treble twenty and thinking it’s in the bag, but the truth is, it isn’t. Once lining up target, you have to pull back your arm and thrust it forward as if you were throwing a dart. However, if you don’t get that fluency right or you shank your hand to the left or right on the forward motion, you could be ending up miles away from where you were aiming. It certainly does take a while to get used to it, and after spending more than a handful of darts hitting anywhere between 40 and 100, it’s only then that you start to get the hang of it. We finished off our rather lengthy leg with a 140 and then our double at our first time of asking, so it’s definitely a case of practice makes perfect.
There was the odd issue with the target dipping slightly lower than previous turns, making it rather tricky to get that fluency and accuracy going again, but it’s something that we hope Rare will iron out before launch – they kind of need to. Other than that though, we were pleasantly surprised. It truly does excite us, and not just because it was extremely accurate and responsive, but what it could mean for other pieces of software looking to take advantage of Kinect’s full potential. Accuracy and latency are two things that are always judged first and foremost with Kinect – and rightly so – and on this basis, Kinect just keeps on getting better.
Kinect Sports: Season 2 is scheduled for a holiday 2011 release.